Published: 29 January 2009
Australia's qualification campaign for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup kicked-off with an entertaining 0-0 Group C draw against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno on Wednesday.
JAKARTA - Australia's qualification campaign for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup kicked-off with an entertaining 0-0 Group C draw against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno on Wednesday.
Coach Pim Verbeek had named a side drawn exclusively from the domestic A-League and while the lack of goals could cause concern heading into the next fixture against Kuwait in March, the Dutchman will take heart in a display that earned a fourth consecutive clean sheet and proved their defensive capabilities.
Indonesia, meanwhile, were forced to settle for a second goalless draw following their stalemate in Oman.
Firman Utina had the first strike on goal when the Indonesian’s 25-yard drive tested debutant goalkeeper Eugene Galekovich.
Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak then had a chance to open Australia's account in the 10th minute but the debutant lost his footing and Indonesia keeper Markus Horison was able to clear.
Danny Allsopp saw an opportunistic drive from 30 yards out fumbled by Horison five minutes later but the Indonesia keeper managed a scrambling recovery with no Australia strikers in attendance.
The best chance for either side fell to Indonesia in the 34th minute when Firman played in Abdulmushafry Talaohu and the striker pulled off the shoulder of Matt Thompson in the right side of the area but pulled his shot across the face of goal with Galekovich struggling at the near post.
Australia were awarded a free-kick in first-half injury time and Paul Reid produced a pinpoint delivery into the area that caught out the Indonesian defence but Dean Heffernan headed the ball into the side netting.
Talaohu then created another chance for Indonesia in the 62nd minute when his dogged run down the right wing resulted in a terrific cross across the face of goal that Galekovich failed to cut out.
Unfortunately for the hosts, Budi Sudarsono arrived just a fraction too late and could only head a clear-cut chance wide.
Striker Archie Thompson almost created the opener for Australia in the 66th minute when his jinking run through the Indonesian defence and resultant low drive at goal hit the turf and bounced out of Horison's hands into the path of Matt Simon.
However, the ball fortuitously rolled back into the outstretched arms of Horison and with that, Australia's final chance was snuffed out.